Korean businessman talks unification possibilities

Korean businessman talks unification possibilities

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Kwang C. An emigrated from South Korea in 1972, first settling in El Paso for three years before moving to Tucson.

"I'm very happy, very happy," he said. "I'm very lucky to be in the right place and the right time."

Mr An, as he is known to a couple of generations of Tucsonans who have eaten at one of his four restaurants here, says a unified Korea has a lot of support but the timing is not right.

"You cannot just open up the door," he said. "It will take some time."

Mr. An says the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un wants to protect his power, but is willing to open up economically to make the country better.

He says its something his grandfather or father couldn't do.

"Kim Jong Un is only 34 years old but he's very smart," Mr. An said. He was educated in Europe and has a sense of the value of economic freedom, but he says the leader was also afraid of what President Trump might do.

"Trump has scared him," Mr. An said.

Mr. An says he came to the United States to seek business opportunities.

"Korea is about half the size of Arizona, a very poor country," he said. "After the war everything was blown down."

He says all around him he could see hunger and that's why he left. But now South Korea has become an industrial powerhouse and the North has been left behind.

"People in the North see this, they have telephones, they have family in the South," he said.

To point out a difference of the two countries, he says if he had family in North Korea he would not be able to sit before the cameras to do interviews.

"I'm not saying nice things," he said. "They would kill my family. People are scared."

But if an agreement can be reached, he said the fear may go away but the troops will likely stay.

"Because China won't let go of the North," he said. "The United States won't let go of the South."

But he adds "everyone wants to see a unified Korea, yes."

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